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THE PLASTIC ART                      81
which, I am sure, you will never employ when singing a song or playing a part (5). Neverthe­less, the practice of these movements, which belong rather to the realm of acrobatics, was necessary for Miss Wilcoxon in order to give a pantomimic representation of a juggler of the twelfth century, of which you will find illus­trations in the following pages.
The two elements, plasticity and recitation, are so united, so inseparable, that plasticity needs words to complete it, and words need plasticity for its more perfect expression. I would like to take recitation in the widest sense of its meaning — recitation by word, by song, by dance — dance being the rhythmic plastic expression of a musical theme, which again is the expression of a thought by sound.
Really one cannot emphatically enough in­sist on the intimate relation between the plastic element and recitation, whether it be by the spoken word, by music, or by dance. You set a thought and the words which express it to music, and you translate the music back to thoughts and words; you translate a thought into music and you embody the music by the plastic movements or attitudes of your body.
Suppose the poem of Stephane Mallarm6, on which Claude Debussy founded his famous

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III